Thursday, July 31, 2008

XTERRA Crested Butte

This race was just what I needed! Going into it I wasn't sure if I had recovered from everything that had happened in the last month. To tell the truth, I was actually a bit nervous (thats not usual for me). But things ended up going quite well.

It wasn't super speedy or anything impressive, but I had a solid race and finished 5th. It was another whirl wind weekend, but as usaul I had a bitchin time.

Saturday I got to sleep in (6:30am) which was nice after a week of waking up at 4:30am. I cruised down to CB with the iPod pumping and my head banging. Did a quick lap of the Upper Upper bike trail to test out the bike and the legs. My parents and I camped that evening in what ended up being "tent city." I think a quarter of the race was camping there! It totally reminded me of Wildflower.

Pre race was typical, other than the fact that I had absolutely no idea of how the race was going to go. Normally I can tell ahead of time if it feels like a good day. Today was all up in the air. The gun went off and I had a rather lathargic start. Up until this point in the year I have beaten Brian Smith out of the water everytime, but not today.

I had planned to take the first part of the bike a bit chill and warm up. I had a hard time not hammering right from the start, but I held back and it worked alright. I crashed in the first part of the bike and it was quite surprising. I haven't crashed in a race in a long time! When I hopped back on the bike I rolled into the next corner and BAM! Crashed again. My back brake had failed. I got up again and crashed in the next corner as well. Its really hard decending without a rear brake!! I took it chill from then until I reached the road. It turns out a large leaf was caught up in my rotor, which caused the brake to have very little stopping power. I pulled it out and motored on. With my fitness rather lacking, I cruised the bike in and got psyched for the run.

I wish every run could feel like this one did! Just like the bike I wanted to take the first part easy and build into things. As I left transition, I thought I was jogging, but apperently I was moving pretty quick. I dropped the 4 guys I came into T2 with and just kept putting time into them. Knowing that 4th place was to far ahead to catch, I just ran a solid race. It felt AMAZING!! I know I wasn't setting any records, but I felt great. I finished strong with my usual grin.

After the race, my friend Erin Kummer and I drove down to Gunnison and hung out with Brian and Jenny Smith for the evening. I massive BBQ filled us up and got us ready for the next days ride.

Monday Erin and I did was can only be described as an epic ride! We did over 7,000 ft of climbing, rode through a hail storm, and decended through massive fields of wild flowers, all on tired legs from yesterdays race.

After the ride we started what should have been a 5hr drive back to Boulder, but my dumb ass turned to early and went up the wrong road. We lost a little bit of time and I lost a little bit of pride, but I rolled back into Boulder around 8pm and hit the sack almost immediately. What a weekend!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Ready for the Butte?

XTERRA Crested Butte is coming up this weekend, and its gonna be interesting to say the least. For the first time in a long time, I do not feel on top of my game. Bouncing back from the staff infection in my foot has taken much longer than expected, I am rather stressed out from work, and my training has been little to non.

I'm not trying to make excuses, but I'm not expecting a stellar race this weekend. I am very excited though to get to see my parents, their new puppy Lil, and my brother. I'll camp with them on Saturday, race Sunday, and then go for an epic bike ride on Monday.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bringing about a big change

So I've decided it is time for a big change. My training and racing are not going how I would like, so no better time than the present to fix that. I have turned in my "two weeks" at the city rec centers, and will have my last shift on July 31st. I will continue to work at Skirt Sports ( and coaching high school cross country and track, but I will definitely be working less.

The plan is to work less and train more. For a long time now, I have just been getting by making ends meat, and struggling to get the training in that I want. Well, I've decided to continue to keep struggling to get by, but get in the training I want. To accomplish this, I will be moving out of my apartment (no rent = less work) and into my mini van. I will work as little as possible, so that I will be able to train as much as possible.

I'm sure it will be tough, but I'm tired of giving it a half ass'd try at triathlon. I want to pursue all the aspects of training that I see necessary to race at an elite level. I am focused and very excited about the months and years to come.

I'll always be looking for a place to make dinner (I'll cook and clean for you) for an evening, and a couch to crash on when I venture from Boulder, but I'm not worried. Things always work out and I'm sure this time will be no different. I know what I want and I'm going for it.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Iron Creek XTERRA

This turned out the be one of those weekends were I should have expected the unexpected. Many of my plans for the weekend went awry.

Spencer and I rolled out of town late Friday morning, in hopes of getting up there early enough to go for a pre ride of the course. I did my road trip usual of Corn Nuts and compression socks. That along with loads of GU2O, I was quite content for the 6+ hour drive.

We rolled into the race venue a little later than I would have like, but it worked out alright. I went for a quick pre ride of some of the key parts of the bike course with Paul Wells, Luke Jay, and Jay's teammate Ricky. Even though I didn't have time to change to the tires I really wanted to ride, I was quite excited about the bike course. Checking in to for the race was very ammusing because... well... it was a bus!

I didn't bring a tent, so I threw my sleeping pad and sleeping bag out on the grass and got comfy for the night. It ended up being very peaceful sleeping right under the stars. At one point of the night I woke up and poked my head of my sleeping bag. I laid there for a few minutes just staring up at the thousands of stars in the solid black night sky. Nothing like it :-)

Race morning breakfast was a couple of eggs, a bagel with honey, and a slice of bacon. I was ready to rock and roll! Getting to transition was pretty easy (I took this picture from my camp site).

A bit to my surprise, the race itself didn't go well at all. I had a decent swim, coming out only a little bit down Kirk (one of my main competitors), and way ahead of Spenser. But things quickly went down hill from there. It took me unusually long to get warmed up. Then when I got to the first major climb, I hit the GO button and nothing happened. I tried to do whatever I could to really get rolling - changing gears, standing, sitting, fast cadence, slow cadence - but nothing worked. The harder I tried the slower I went. My breathing was becoming more and more labored. At one point, I turned to go up a short steep loose climb and couldn't do it even in my easy gears. Something was seriously wrong. I know my body well enough to diagnose when I'm just run down from training and racing, and I knew that this was something totally different.

I rolled into T2 with my tail between my legs and called it a day. I could have gone out for the run, but it certainly wouldn't have been a run. Everytime I tried to put and effort in it was incredibly draining and I really didn't have much. So feeling like a quitter, I packed up my things and descretly walked back to camp. Not wanting to be a total sourpuss, I grabbed my camera and went back to take pictures of friends and cheer other racers on.

Knowing that something out of the ordinary was up, I opted to head back to Boulder early rather than staying and riding on Sunday. I wanted to head into the doctor and get some blood work done to see if they can figure out what is going on. I hope it doesn't have anything to do with the staff infection I had last month, but we'll find out...

2nd Race of the Weekend

Doing a half ironman on Saturday and then doing a sprint on Sunday sounded like a good idea when my buddy Brian talked me into it, but in hind sight....

After my 5th place finish at the Patriot triathlon, I threw my compression socks and tights back on tried to get for tomorrows sprint tri. I have to say, my motivation was a bit lacking, but after a nap, and a bunch of food, I was ready to make it happen.

As the alarm went off Sunday morning, I hopped out of bed feeling better than I thought I would (still not stellar though). We packed up the cars used the Garmin to zig zag our way through new england back roads to the Holliston Lions Triathlon.

Setting up transition, thoughts of being hard core enough to pull off a grueling double race weekend kept me optimistic. I would soon find out that wasn't in the cards.

The swim went well. I felt long, smooth, and not as tired as I had anticipated. I guess all that swimming I did when I had my foot infection paid off. The bike went about the same. I was a little slow to start, but all in all felt pretty good. The run is another story. Almost immediately out of transition, my hamstrings and calves were screaming. I attempted to "run" the first mile, but dropped from 6th place so quickly I can't actually call what I was doing "running." Realizing the posterior side of my legs were shot, I shut it down and jogged the remaining 4 miles.

I was happy with the day though because after it was all over, I did feel better than I did the day before. Think of it as active recovery :-) But now I know better, and probably won't do that ever again. Now it was time to head home and prepare for some more training and the XTERRA Iron Creek in South Dakota the following weekend.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A Major Accomplishment

At the beginning of each year I set out a few goals for my race season. This year I came up with two challenging, but obtainable ones – place top 10 in the XTERRA USA Pro points series and finish getting my all around pro triathlon license (right now I’m off-road pro only). With my less than stellar performances in Temecula, Birmingham, and Richmond, the first of my two goals is now nearly impossible to achieve, so I’ve turned my sights on the second.

To complete my all around pro license, I need to finish within 8% of the winners time in 3 races with a pro prize purse. I have one from last year (Ogden), but needed to get two more this year. Though I did not race up to my standards in Richmond, it was enough to get me within 8% of Josiah Middaugh’s winning time. To get the final result, I decided to pop out to Boston and visit the venue of my first half ironman and give it a go again.

Thursday after work, I hopped on a plane to Boston sporting a blue Mohawk and long black compression tights (quite a sight walking through the airport). On Friday I shot down to the race sight to volunteer for a few hours (trading some man power for a comp’d entry fee). After that it was off to a BBQ for the 4th of July.

Saturday morning – race time! With a rather small elite wave (~15 in all), visions of picking up the win started dancing through my head. The gun went off, and as the swim got underway I was reminded that if I did want to win this, I would have to ride and run my butt off because leading out of the swim wasn’t gonna happen. Posting one of the fastest T1 times, I hopped on my bike with a mountain of GU’s on the top tube and loaded up with bottles.

The bike shaped up to be quite interesting. Mike Lavery, another elite, and I came out of T1 together. Sitting about 20/25 meters off his wheel, we set a solid pace and started reeling people in. Jay gapped me out slightly before the first aid station and then disappeared. I was quite disheartened that he completely dropped me, but to my surprise, as I finished my first lap a spectator told me I was in second. Unfortunately for them, both Jay and the lead woman (she beat me out of the water as well) had taken wrong turns and went off course. They got back on, but were minutes down from their original positions.

As I came off the bike, I was still a bit confused as to exactly what position I was in. Knowing I had one racer right on my heals, I was quite surprised when a timer told me I was in second! “The leader is 6:15 up on you... Third is 1:30 down” were the words that got me both incredibly excited and a little nervous. Not only had I just put 1:30 on third place through T2 (it’s a no-pain-gain!), but I was feeling quite confident and comfortable. Unfortunately that wouldn’t last. After about 7 miles, I was reminded that I’m trained for XTERRA racing right now, not half iron distance. I had some stomach issues and had to pull into the bushes for a quick pit stop. As I continued to ease off my original 6:30/mile pace, I was passed by two guys. I eventually crossed the line in 4th, but was beat by a racer in another wave to finish 5th overall.

I had accomplished my goal for this race. I had done it - I will now be an all around pro triathlete! It really felt great to achieve something that I have worked hard for.

This is becoming such a long blog that in hopes of not losing readers, I'm goning to give all the details of the following days race (yes I raced on Sunday as well), and the return home, in another blog.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Heading to Boston for the 4th

Feeling that my foot is finally fixed I'm flying away for some friend filled fun for the fourth (11 f-words in one sentence!). As I sit here at Spruce pool with my knee high compression socks, my anticipation grows and grows. I will be racing two races this weekend - the Patriot Triathlon (half iron distance) and the Holliston Lions Triathlon (sprint distance). I raced both of these races last year (they were one week apart) and this year they are on the same weekend. So what better way to prove my insanity than to do two races in two days.

I fly out today, race Saturday, race Sunday, and fly back Monday. As I learn this new blogging site, I'll be posting updates as frequently as possible.

Check it out!

In an effort to keep my website as up to date as possible, I have started a new type of blog. This will hopefully allow me to create a smoother flowing site that is more convienent for both you and me.